What are Conflict Diamonds?
Conflict diamonds are diamonds mined in certain African combat zones that have fueled and funded civil war and gross abuses against the civilian population. Such diamonds are estimated to currently account for less than 1% of the world diamond production.
The Kimberley Process
The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) imposes extensive requirements on its members to enable them to certify shipments of rough diamonds as “conflict-free” and prevent conflict diamonds from entering the legitimate trade. Under the terms of the KPCS, participating states must meet ‘minimum requirements’ and must put in place national legislation and institutions; export, import and internal controls; and also commit to transparency and the exchange of statistical data. Participants can only legally trade with other participants who have also met the minimum requirements of the scheme, and international shipments of rough diamonds must be accompanied by a KP certificate guaranteeing that they are conflict-free. Any country declining to participate is effectively barred from the international diamond trade. In addition, the Clean Diamond Trade Act codifies many of the provisions of the Kimberley Process. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection is responsible for enforcement at American ports.
Clean Diamond Trade Act
Since the adoption of KPCS and the signing into law of the Clean Diamond Trade Act, More Than Just Rings has included the Kimberley Process when purchasing diamonds and other gemstones. Our policy specifically requires More Than Just Rings to guarantee that the diamonds and diamond-containing jewelry we provide to our customers are conflict-free. And we require our diamond vendors to provide proof of warranty from their sources of diamond merchandise upon request, Our store associates at More Than Just Rings are trained in the conflict diamond program and follow the processes for compliance.
Voluntary program of self-regulation
More Than Just Rings makes every effort to stock conflict-free diamonds and provide assurances to our customers that the diamonds we sell are from legitimate sources. Leading organizations in the jewelry industry have created a voluntary program of self-regulation and we fully support this program. Diamonds are meant to be a symbol of love not a reminder of war and we want our customers to have confidence that we are using our best efforts to both bar conflict diamonds from our inventory and sell only diamonds that are “conflict-free.”
Code of Conduct
To supplement the government program, the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA) and the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB), representing virtually all significant processors and traders, established a regimen of self-regulation. Its principal element is a system of warranties that accompany invoices covering the sale of rough diamonds, polished diamonds and diamond jewelry. The requirement applies to rough diamonds mined after December 31, 2002, and product fabricated from them.
Each time the diamonds change hands, the seller affirms to the buyer, in writing, that the diamonds come from legitimate sources “not involved in funding conflict and in compliance with the United Nations resolutions…(read more). Under the code of conduct adopted by IDMA and WFDB, members are required, among other things, to deal only with sellers that use the warranty system.
Our Role to our customers
The most important contribution as jewelers we can make within our industry is to only purchase our diamonds and diamond jewelry from sources that comply with the Kimberley Process and maintain that we only sell diamonds that are conflict-free.
Since January 2003, we require a guarantee to More Than Just Rings in writing that diamonds and diamond jewelry supplied are conflict-free by (1) signing a Vendor Code of Conduct certification and/or (2) incorporating the KPCS warranty into each invoice submitted to More Than Just Rings. The warranty states as follows:
- The diamonds herein invoiced have been purchased from legitimate sources not involved in funding conflict and in compliance with the United Nations Resolutions. The seller hereby guarantees that these diamonds are conflict-free, based on personal knowledge and/or written guarantees provided by the supplier of these diamonds.
- For diamonds mined before January 1, 2003, we require our diamond and diamond jewelry suppliers to certify in writing that they do not knowingly sell conflict diamonds and that, to the best of their ability, they have undertaken reasonable measures to help prevent the sale of conflict diamonds in this country.
- More Than Just Rings requires its diamond vendors to recertify annually their adherence to KPCS.
- Following the recommendation of industry leaders, we retain for at least five years the warranties accompanying our purchases of diamonds and diamond jewelry.
- Additionally, we require our diamond vendors to provide us with proof of warranty from their sources of merchandise upon our request. If a vendor refuses to guarantee that their diamonds and diamond jewelry are conflict-free or if we have reason to believe that their merchandise came from questionable sources, we refuse to transact business with that vendor.
You can find out more about the Kimberley Process and Conflict Diamonds by clicking this link.